Almost a year ago, I made the decision to pack my bags and move 600 miles from my home to a city where I knew absolutely no one.  Even though I’ve moved back home now, I can say that I have learned more about myself than ever before because I jumped so far out of my comfort zone.  It was a wonderful experience full of ups and downs, and I would still do it all again.  So, here’s a few things I learned from starting over in Charleston.

  • 1. Sometimes finding where you fit in takes a while.

College is weird when it comes to meeting people.  You kinda stick with whoever you can find, jumping around from group to group until you find the right people.  Sometimes you’re lucky enough to bring friends with you, but I wasn’t that lucky.  I had to start all over, and trying to navigate all of the new people was incredibly overwhelming.  I tried different campus organizations and friend groups, and eventually I found somewhere that made me feel comfortable.  Sadly, it took until my second semester before this actually happened.  If you manage to find your place immediately, consider yourself lucky.  If it takes a while, that is perfectly okay.

  • 2. If things need to get done, do them yourself.

I gotta say, learning this one was really hard.  I realized quickly that the people I normally called for help (best friends, siblings, parents) weren’t close at all.  I learned very quickly that no one was there to do those boring, adult tasks.  Yeah, it sucked having to ensure I had groceries or running out at midnight to get toilet paper when roommates didn’t care enough.  If there’s anything I learned from this, people are so lazy.  They’ll let trash pile up, dishes multiply, and TP empty.  If any of these things bother you, I’m sorry but you’re either going to have to confront some people or do those chores yourself.

  • 3. You have to stand up for yourself.

Not everyone you meet is going to be a total angel, and that’s something I had to learn the hard way.  People will try to use you, and they’ll treat you like dirt if they don’t find a use in you anymore.  I’m a really trusting person, and I try to be nice to everyone.  Therefore, if someone treats me badly or flat out ignores me, I still try to give them the benefit of the doubt and be nice.  Let me tell you, people will walk all over you.  It got to the point where it made me really angry, but something in me still wanted to be nice.  At that point, screw it.  If you need to confront someone, do it.  Try to be calm and collected, but definitely stand up for yourself.  Your voice deserves to be heard, especially if someone is making you feel bad.

  • 4. You will get lonely, and that’s okay.

Chances are, you won’t instantly find a best friend in your new home.  It really sucks, but making friends can be really hard sometimes.  I had to learn that sometimes you just gotta do things solo.  It’s nice to enjoy your own company, but there are moments where it just gets really lonely.  I can’t tell you how many times I let this get me down.  All I can say is try and reach out to old pals, and if that doesn’t work, curl up and watch a good movie.  A little self care can make those blue nights a little bit better.

  • 5. Maybe this place wasn’t for you after all.

This lesson took me an entire year to learn.  You have to really listen to yourself and how you feel when it comes to deciding if you made the right choice.  I debated this for a while, always making an excuse for why it would be better.  Maybe it would’ve gotten better had I stayed, but you gotta do what makes you happy.  There’s no use in being miserable.  The most important part is that you are not a failure if you couldn’t stick it out for the full four years of college.  It is perfectly okay to try somewhere else if you need to.

If you’re about to move away for school or work or whatever reason, I hope these lessons are helpful.  Maybe you can relate, maybe you’ll have your own lessons to learn.  My best advice is to take that chance and move.  You may learn more about yourself than you ever expected to.

Happy travels, grrls.

Catt Weglicki